Talking Dutch: Farewell, old frietkot


With the growth of fancy street food, it’s possible that the run-down periwinkle stands and the old-fashioned frites stalls will disappear

The city of Brussels wants to eliminate some of the run-down frietkots and host more up-market food trucks. What do you think?

Derek Blyth on the fast-food revolution

A couple of years ago, we started to see food vans at street markets in Brussels. Now they are everywhere. Food trucks zijn de laatste jaren uitgegroeid tot een vaste waarde op de markten van Flagey, Kastelein en Van Meenen – food trucks have in recent years become a common sight at Flagey, Kastelein and Van Meenen markets.

The city of Brussels wants to encourage them, but only if they offer the right sort of food. Het stadsbestuur wil immers een meer gevarieerd en kwalitatief aanbod inzake street food – the city government would like to see a more varied and upmarket range of street food. And that of course means there has to be more regulation. Een nieuwe jury beslist voortaan wie nog eten mag verkopen op straat – a new jury will decide who is to be allowed to sell food on the street.

This is bad news for the cheerful people who serve double-fried frites with a dollop of mayonnaise and a plastic fork. “Ik denk dat er al meer dan voldoende aanbod is van wafels, frieten of durum en kebab” – I think that we already have enough places serving waffles, frites or durum and kebabs, said Marion Lemesre, the councillor responsible for business in central Brussels.

Lemesre told TV Brussel that she finds the old food stands an eyesore. “Ze beantwoorden niet meer aan de verwachtingen op het vlak van esthetiek en kwaliteit van de openbare ruimte” – they no longer meet the standards that we expect in terms of the aesthetics and quality of the public space.

No more snails?

So does that mean that the friendly old lady selling boiled snails in front of the Katelijnekerk is going to be quietly moved on from the spot where she has stood for as long as anyone can remember? Mogelijk zullen immers nog meer aftandse karakollenkramen en ouderwetse frietkoten verdwijnen – it’s possible that the run-down periwinkle stands and the old-fashioned frites stalls will increasingly disappear. 

I think we have enough places serving waffles, frites or durum and kebabs

- Marion Lemesre

Lemesre prefers to encourage cool young start-up entrepreneurs like Yoan Argence. He runs a food bicycle selling waffles. But not old-fashioned waffles. “We gebruiken de traditionele deeg van de lichte en krokante Brusselse wafel maar verkopen hem op een stokje” – we use the traditional dough to make a light and crisp Brussels waffle but then we sell it on a stick, he said to TV Brussel.

Daarnaast bieden we ook hartige wafels aan met een tiental smaken, zoals kerstomaat met mozzarella en pesto, chorizo met ricotta of geitenkaas met thym” – in addition we offer 10 different tastes, including cherry tomato with mozzarella and pesto, chorizo with ricotta or goat’s cheese with thyme.

But it might not be that easy to get rid of the old frites stands. When Elsene council tried to get rid of Frit Flagey a few years ago, a petition was launched on Facebook to save it. It’s still there, serving frites the old-fashioned way, without pesto.  

Photo: Ingimage

Talking Dutch: Farewell, old frietkot

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